£135.50 Birmingham To Leeds Return or is it £51.90?

My partner is travelling tomorrow to Leeds for the day. As she will be in court first thing in the morning she needs to leave so early there isn’t a feeder train in to Birmingham New Street from either Birmingham International or Solihull. The journey looks pretty quick only 1 hour 52 minutes which is comparable with the taking the car (though the car would have the advantage that it leaves from her house and will stop at the court rather than needing someone to take her into birmingham at this end and hire a taxi at the other!)

The fee for this service? £135.50.

To my mind that seems a little expensive. The client is paying but when they asked what the fee would be the hearing was scheduled for the afternoon so she told them the off peak ticket price of around £50. Unfortunately now that the meeting is going to be occuring at 10am an off peak ticket is not an option.

As it happens I am a bit of a train anorak. Don’t get me wrong I’ve never stood at a train station writing down the numbers of the trains that have come through but I do find the state of the train network after denationalization to be so complicated as to be fascinating. Particularly since it happened before computers. I’d love to go in depth into the various vagueries of the national routing guide but that can wait for another post. In this post (finally!) I’m going to talk about ticket splitting.

Some people may have heard of ticket splitting. The Moneybags Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, even had an incredibly bad computer program written to try and help people with the process but despite being worth over £100m he seems unable to have hired a moderately competent computer programmer and just written a useless app that doesn’t work and which you can’t order tickets through.

As I stated earlier the walk up fare is £135.50. However, the fast trains from Birmingham to Leeds also stop in the following locations:

  • Tamworth
  • Burton on Trent
  • Derby
  • Chesterfield
  • Sheffield
  • Wakefield Westgate

Therefore using a bit of jiggery pokery we can get the following pay table for travelling between stations on this route:

BHM TAM BUT DBY CHD SHF WKF LDS
BHM 7.8 15.8 18 67 82.5 112.5 135.5
TAM 7.6 7.8 19.6 52.5 64 90.5 101
BUT 15.4 7.6 7.2 24.7 26.2 50 63.4
DBY 16.7 14 7.1 17.9 20.9 39.5 44
CHD 33.5 26 22.2 11.1 6.3 11.9 21.1
SHF 41 32 25.8 20.6 5 11.4 13
WKF 49.5 45.5 41.2 33.5 11.4 9.4 5.8
LDS 58 50.5 43.8 40.5 15.7 10.5 3.3 Derby

Now clearly if one buys the following three tickets

Birmingham New Street to Derby £18

Derby to Sheffield £20.90

Sheffield to Leeds £13

Then you’ve saved a fortune.

Can’t be bothered to do this by hand? There is an amazing website http://www.splitticketing.com also available through rail easy which does it all for you. I love this site and can’t recommend it enough. It is so good that I stopped trying to write my own once I’d found it and I’m vary happy to pay the 10% of saving that they ask for.

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